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gation. When celibacy is not a duty, there is no virtue in it. Does any one believe that Enoch would have been more virtuous, and walked more closely with God, if he had not fallen into the mistake of matrimony?

But I arrest my remarks, lest, in criminating one kind of supererogation, I myself be guilty of another.

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Every body knows how important convents, monasteries, nunneries, &c. are in the Roman Catholic religion. Who has not heard of monks and nuns, and of the establishments in which they respectively seclude themselves from the world? What a pity they cannot keep the flesh and the devil as far off! But the flesh they must carry in with them; and the devil is at no loss to find an entrance. There are no convents that can shut these out; and it is my opinion that it is not of much use to exclude the world, if they cannot at the same time shut out the other two. The world would be very harmless, but for the flesh and the devil. Besides, I am of opinion that a person may be of the world, though not in the world. In, but not of the world, is the Protestant doctrine, and the true plan. People forget that the world is not the great globe, with all its land and water; but that it is often an insidious little thing, which, ere one knows it, has taken up its lodgment in the heart. The heart can entertain the world. If so, convent cannot even keep out the world. They do not answer the purpose therefore for which they are intended.

But be this as it may, I find nothing for convents in the Bible. In the Old Testament not a word about them-in the New not a word. Now if they are such grand contrivances for making people good, and for keeping them pure, I am surprised they were never thought of till after the canon of Scripture was closed. Why do not the men who speak by inspiration of God, say any thing about them ? This puzzles me. I wish some of the Catholic writers would explain the reason. They tell us why St. Paul omitted to say any thing in his writings about the mass. It was, say the authors of the Rhemish Testament in their annotations on Hebrews, 7: 17, “because of the depth of the mystery, and the incredulity or feebleness of those to whom he wrote.” We thank them for the admission that the apostle did not teach the doctrine of the mass. But how came they to know the reason of his silence upon it ? May be it was for a similar reason that he maintained a perfect silence on the subject of convents !

But if convents are such clever things, why did not Enoch take the vow of celibacy, and go into one, instead of " walking with God and begetting sons and daughters ?” How much better a man, according to the Catholic notion, he would have been, had he only been a monk! And why did not St. John banish himself to some solitary Patmos, and there live the life of a hermit, before a persecuting emperor drove him into it? Why did not Peter and his wife part, and he turn friar and she nun? We look to such characters


for examples. Why did not the Marys, or some other of the pious women of whom we read in the Bible, take the veil ? Monachism, they may say, is an improvement on those times. But I do not like the idea of improvements on a system arranged by the wisdom of the Son of God himself.

There is what we call the spirit of a book. Now, the entire system of convents seems to me as clearly at variance with the spirit of the Bible, as one thing can be at variance with another. The Bible appears to have been written for persons who were to live in society with their fellow-men. It supposes human beings to be associated together in families and in civil communities, not as immured in monasteries and shut up in nunneries. It takes up the various relations of life, and descants on the duties growing out of them. But the system of Monachism dissolves these relations. Is it scriptural then? But why should I ask if that be scriptural which was first instituted by St. Anthony in the fourth century after Christ?

Again, if the system is favorable to holiness, then all equally need it, since all are required to be equally holy-to be holy as God is holy. But what would soon become of us all, if the system should become universal, and all adopt these means of holiness? This idea, that the means of the most eminent sanctity required of any, are not accessible and practicable to all, is radically erroneous. It is no such thing. It cannot be. Therefore I conclude against convents.

But while I impugn the system, I bring no charges against the existing edifices, called convents. I would never have them assailed by any other force than that which belongs to an argument. If I were a Roman Catholic, I could not more indignantly reprobate than, being a protestant, I do, the recent burn

Ι ing of one of these buildings. If truth and argument can prostrate them, let them fall; but not by axes, and hammers, and fire-brands. All I contend for is, that the whole concern of convents is unscriptural. Those who inhabit them may be as pure as any who live outside; and so I shall believe them to be, until I have proof to the contrary. This plan of suspecting, and of making mere suspicion the ground of condemnation, is no part of my religion. It is a part of my Protestantism to protest against it.

57. Mr. Berrington and Mrs. More.


In reading the interesting memoirs of Mrs. Hannah More, I was struck with a letter which that good lady received in 1809 from Joseph Berrington, the Pope's Vicar General, taking exception to something she had said in her “Celebs" about Popery. He is very

much offended with her. He complains, among other things, of her use of the word Popery, to designate the Roman Catholic religion. Now, some of us do not make much use of that word, as knowing it is offensive to the Catholics, and not willing to say any thing irritating to them; and when we do use it, I believe it is more for brevity than for any other reason—to avoid tedious circumlocution. It is as much out of regard to the


printer as any thing else. I do not see, however, why they should so strongly object to the word Popery. They all hold to the spiritual supremacy of the Pope, and regard him as the head of the church. Why then should not their religious system be called after him? We call ours after the one we regard as supreme in spiritual matters, and head of the church. We call it Christianity, after Christ. Why not for the same reason call theirs Popery, after the Pope ? We do not even get angry when they call us Calvinists, and our doctrinal system Calvinism. Yet with much more reason might we; for what is Calvin to us? He is only one of many thousand eminent men who have espoused substantially the system of doctrine we do.

I find in Mr. B's. letter this remarkable sentence : Nothing is more surprising than that you Protestants should be so utterly ignorant, as you really are, or seem to be, of our tenets; when we all, whatever be our country, think alike, and our catechisms and books of instruction lie open before the world.” He says nothing is more surprising. But there is one thing which is even more surprising. It is that any intelligent ecclesiastic should venture to write such a sentence. He says we Protestants are, or seem to be, utterly ignorant of their tenets. Now, the truth is, there are few things we are better acquainted with than the tenets of Roman Catholics. They say we do not let them speak for themselves. Yes, we do. Do they not speak for themselves in their own manuals, breviaries, and catechisms printed under their own sanction and supervision? If we take their tenets from their own books, and quote verbatim, and refer to the edition and page, is not that enough?

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